Sunday, February 16, 2020

Camellia Forest Nursery Visits Asheville's Dobra Tea

Christine Parks of Camellia Forest Nursery, Chapel Hill, NC

"Did you know you can grow and make your own tea from Camellia Sinensis in Western North Carolina...?" This morning I learned that yes, indeed, you can.

Bright and early at Asheville's downtown Dobra Tea I had the pleasure of listening to a talk entitled "Growing Your Own Tea" given by Christine Parks of Camellia Forest Nursery and Tea Gardens (Chapel Hill, NC). This talk was one in a series of tea classes sponsored and hosted by Asheville's Dobra Tea.

Christine covered all the basics of growing tea from evaluation and preparation of your site to growth and pruning of the plants.  She then talked a bit about processing your home grown tea leaves.  Dobra's sitting room was packed full for this talk, but don't worry if you were not one of the lucky Asheville-ites to have been there. This information will soon be available to all.  Christine has a forthcoming book entitled Grow Your Own Tea: The Complete Guide to Cultivating, Harvesting, and Preparing being published by Timber Press.  The book will be available in June of this year (and is already available for pre-order on Amazon). I know that I, for one, will be snapping up a copy as soon as I can.

As we listened to Christine's talk and responses to our questions, we sampled a roster of six delicious teas. The first of these teas was the "Camellia Forest White" prepared with leaves grown and processed at Christine's Camellia Forest Nursery. The remaining five of the teas served were some of those available on Dobra's extensive menu of teas. All of the teas were prepared and served by Miles Cramer, Dobra's in-house tea educator and organizer of the "Tea Class Series."

Christine Parks and Miles Cramer

I feel fortunate to have Dobra Tea and its "Tea Class Series" available to me right here in Asheville, North Carolina.  But those of you in other areas can also learn about growing tea from Christine as well as enjoying the large selection of teas sourced by Dobra. Christine includes basic growing information on her nursery website as well as on her tea garden website. And Dobra ships fresh, loose leaf tea to anywhere in the United States. So enjoy!  Tea plants and tea tasting are just a keystroke away.

Friday, February 7, 2020

My Mosaic Teapot

Most people think of mosaics as being made up of flat tiles or pieces of glass.  But thanks to my friend, Debra Mager, I have learned that there exists a huge world of mosaic types to be discovered. I have taken a couple of classes with Debra at her Debra Mager Mosaics studio in Asheville. This mosaic teapot is the result of techniques I learned in those two classes.

I wanted to create a three-dimensional decorative mosaic teapot, so I took Debra's "Birds and Other Creatures" workshop after taking the "Jeweled Mosaic Mirrors" workshop. (The "Jeweled Mosaic Mirrors" is also available as an online course.)  You can see the tea-themed details that I incorporated into the mosaic here below. One side of the teapot features a camellia sinensis style flower as its focal piece. The other side features a medallion reflecting the amber colored brew of a black tea. And the lid carries tea leaves surrounded by green tea colored beading.

I cannot resist including a couple of "location" shots of my creation here in the house. So bear with me as I include Huck, the trusty guard dog and then my mosaic teapot perched in front of the cozy fireplace.

I will not use this teapot to brew tea.  The lid is glued shut and the teapot is attached to its pedestal.  But this creation will stand as a small sculptural homage to my love of tea.
© my tea diary
Maira Gall